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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

THE    CHRISTIAN   AND    HISTORICAL   STUDY

more* it examines the observable or demonstrable
connections between those things—the relationships
between various kinds of what we call historical
"events", for example. Technical history, on this
definition, is to be regarded as a mundane and a matter-
of-fact affair, and serves only limited purposes. It may
provide us with a demonstration that Jesus Christ did
live or that a certain saint died at the age of fifty; and
if it does prove those points it proves them for all men,
whatever their faith—its argument is valid for Catholic
or atheist, for Marxist or Mohammedan, There are
many things, however—and those much the most
important—which the technical historian knows that
his evidence and his apparatus give him no special right
to decide. Amongst them we should include the
quality of Beethoven's music, the tightness of the
Reformation and the question of the divinity of*Christ.
When the technical historian explains the victory of
Christianity in the ancient Roman Empire, we should
not expect him to say that the success was due to a decree
of Providence or to the authenticity of the religion
itself. We should rather expect him to provide an
empirical study of certain tangible things that gave
Christianity its efficacy in the world of that time. There
would be many cases where the historian would be
aware that he had not found the clinching argument, or
fully established even so concrete a thing as a date, or
demonstrated his hypothesis to the satisfaction of all his
fellow-students. This kind of history, therefore, ought
not to appear as a self-complete intellectual system or as
a continuous piece of explanation without any holes